What’s The Best Strategy For Landing Your First Real Job?

“I want to get a new job (or my first real job). I just don’t know what to do. How can I get a job?”

Does this sound like you? Well it certainly sounds like me! I’ve always been pretty clueless about the whole finding a job process. It’s very intimidating. There are so many things that you should be doing when on the job hunt.

  • You need to tweak your resume.
  • You need to attend networking events.
  • You need to know someone.
  • You need an insane amount of experience, yet nobody will give you that first chance!

There’s a lot going on when it comes to trying to figure out how to get a first job. What are you supposed to do first? How do you not get overwhelmed?

I got some answers for you in this article…

Where do companies find new hires?

I decided to do some research. I checked out CNN Money and found the results that display how jobs are secured. Where do employers go when they want to hire someone?

  • Referrals 28%
  • Job boards 20.1%
  • Career websites 9.8%
  • Rehires 4.3%
  • Social media 3.5%
  • Career fairs 1.9%

How did you find your last/current job? Was it a referral? Did your buddy put in a good word for you? If a strategy has worked for you in the past, it can also work for you moving forward. You can just as easily find your first “real job” in your 20s with a strong referral.

Moving forward, chances are that social media won’t help you get a job. So for all the pundits that praise the gospel of social media, it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between being on the job hunt and just wasting time on Facebook.

Net let’s try to make some sense out of all of this…

How can these results help with getting a job?

These results can help you avoid information overload. I believe in getting the most out of the least. As this list indicates, it makes more sense to look for a strong referral than to spend your days on social media.

You need to stop attending career fairs. They seem like a waste of time. They’re like the Plenty of Fish of dating. Only the losers go on! Why waste your time?

As I was writing this article, I was reminded of the time that I wrote about investing in yourself and the quote I used from Never Eat Alone on attending career fairs:

“The average attendees are often unemployed and too quick to pass on their resumes to anyone with a free hand — usually the hand of someone else who is unemployed and looking to pass on his resume.”

Moving forward, as the numbers indicate, it makes total sense to be meeting the right people since referrals made up for 28% of new hires. That’s a high percentage. Instead of trying to do everything at once, the logical move to make after seeing these results is to focus on job boards and building connections that will lead to your next referral.

How will you land your next job?

Since referrals are the most common strategy for landing a job, I would recommend testing this out. You need to ask yourself a few important questions first:

  1. Are you staying in touch with your college buddies? If you didn’t go to college, are you actively trying to meet new people?
  2. Are you being as helpful as you can be to those around you?
  3. Do your friends know what you’re capable of?

I once wrote about how my friend used Facebook to find a new gig. I guess he’s one of the 3.5%. A low percentage doesn’t mean that you don’t have a chance with trying out the specific strategy. You should never rule anything out. I just want you to focus your energy on where it matters most.

What’s the best way that you found a job in the past? I’m sure someone reading this has a cool story on finding a job.

2 thoughts on “What’s The Best Strategy For Landing Your First Real Job?”

  1. I actually found my last job on Craigslist and every other job except for my on-campus one was a walk-in.

    Going forward, I have a sliver of chance at a referral if I go the geotechnical route. If I can find a listing on my own that I am a fair match for, my old boss has been working in the road construction industry for 30 years and knows pretty much every contractor in the state.

    The other problem with career fairs is that the employers don’t even go to them! The last time I went to a fair, there were 20 booths. 6 were for online or trade colleges, 8 were network marketing deals, 4 were food booths and only 2 actual employers were in attendance!

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